Altai – a secret gate to Shambala
The Republic of Altai, located in the heart of Asia, is quite a large area. It is nearly equal to such countries as Portugal or Hungary, and only a bit smaller than the area of South Korea. The nature of the region is a combination of the Altai Mountains, Siberian taiga, Kazakh steppes, and semi-deserts of Mongolia.
The name “Altai” means “Gold Mountain” in Mongolian. A vast area embracing Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Mount Belukha, and the Ukok Plateau is included into a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai. As stated by UNESCO, “the region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation”.
The first people settled in the Altai valleys about 1,5 million years ago. It is the estimated age of the world-known Ulalinskaya site discovered in Gorno- Altaisk. Altai is the ancestral home of all the Turkic peoples of the world. It is here where the original Turkic language was formed. And it the reason for the emergence of such a term as “Altaic language family”.
Altai offers fabulous opportunities for hiking and mountain exploration. Its enigmatic landscapes leave travelers enchanted. The highest peaks of the Altai Mountains are much steeper and rockier than their Alpine equivalents, but the ranges and massifs of the middle Altai, to the north and west, have much softer outlines which tell about their much more ancient origin.
But what’s even more remarkable about the Altai mountains is that they are considered the area of spiritual and occult significance. They are believed to hide the entrance to Shambala, the legendary kingdom mentioned in a number of Buddhist texts.